Western Student Connections
A not-for-profit organisation providing mentoring, engagement, homework and school refusal services for students in western NSW and the Hunter.
Who we are
Western Student Connections (Macquarie Darling Work Placement Inc trading as Western Student Connections or WSC) is a not-for-profit organisation committed to improving outcomes for young people in Western NSW.
Where we operate
Central West: Bathurst, Lachlan Valley, Lithgow, Mudgee, Orange
Far West: Bourke, Cobar, Coonamble, Broken Hill, Far West, Dubbo
Hunter: Lower Hunter, Maitland, Port Stephens and Upper Hunter
Murray: Albury, Lower Murray and Upper Murray
New England and North West: Armidale, Inverell, Tenterfield, Moree, Narrabri, Tamworth, Gunnedah
Who we can help
Primary students, secondary students, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, refugee students, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse students, Schools for Specific Purposes and students with disability.
What we do
We provide a wide range of workshops and training sessions which give our clients the resilience and skills to overcome their adversity, disadvantage, low self-esteem and anxiety.
- co-ordinating work placement for VET HSC students
- delivering Links to Learning projects to Year 7 to 11
- work readiness, wellbeing, career / social development, anger management, time management, goal-setting, literacy / numeracy for work, resume writing, job applications, pathways further education, training, employment, career portfolios and work experience
- providing a suite of workshops through our STEAM Ahead robotics and coding program.
We provide one-on-one and small group sessions on goal-setting, educational and social support, resilience, anger management, life skills, self-esteem, career development, sensibility, relationships, family and community.
Our programs aim to provide young people with the skills to:
- make better choices
- develop their potential and personal image
- identify triggers and barriers
- set achievable goals.
A trainer / mentor will deliver each session in-school or at another location where the student feels safe. It involves one-on-one sessions at first, followed by family sessions and then small groups of between five and ten students.
Costs: $540 per student per week with a minimum of five students. A group of schools may combine resources to fund a shared mentor.
Engagement or Re-engagement Services
We use a personal development program which gives each student a better understanding of who they are as a person, who is available to support them and how they can overcome barriers. Our aim is to create a safe and productive environment so young people can:
- understand their learning, social, emotional, behavioural, health, wellbeing and environmental needs
- develop skills to overcome triggers and barriers to engagement, set achievable goals and plan for a positive future which includes completing education.
A trained trainer / mentor will deliver this program in a way that meets the needs of each individual student. One-on-one and small group sessions of up to ten students are held for three hours a week, over a term. Sessions can be held at school or at a place where students feel safe. Students will be assisted to integrate back to full-time commitment to school and study.
Costs: $540 per student per week, with a minimum of five students per group. A group of schools may combine resources to fund a shared mentor.
Homework and Tutorial Programs
Our homework and tutorial programs provide a safe learning environment where students can:
- complete homework, assignments and assessments
- develop study plans
- improve their literacy numeracy
- prepare for tests
- apply for scholarships, part-time work, traineeships or apprenticeships.
The centre is open Monday to Thursday from 3:30pm to 5:00pm and is fully supervised by a trainer who ensures participants are engaged in activities which improve their outcomes at school. Students sign a pledge of honesty and integrity to attend the centre. Students attend as they need to, giving them self-determination and control of their learning.
Costs: The cost is $140 per day which covers one trainer / supervisor, in one school, four days a week, for one term. The maximum number of students per trainer is 15. Additional trainers can employed on a needs basis by negotiation with the school. The minimum total cost is $5600 per term.
School Refusal Services
We offers sessions in relaxation, meditation and deep breathing, anti-anxiety, anger management, anti-bullying and sensibility support. We use these techniques to minimise the anxiety and tension which can cause students to refuse to attend school or only attend intermittently. Support for students is available in person, online and over the phone. Each student has access to three hours of support per week, for one term. Sessions start with an initial three-hour one-on-one session, to build rapport and trust. This is followed by family and friendship group sessions which are designed to support to a return to school. Sessions will be held out of school in a safe place for the students.
Costs: The minimum number of students per group is five and the expected cost is $440 per student, per week. The expected minimum total cost per term is $15,400.
We offer students the opportunity to develop life and leadership skills through engagement in the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. Our aim is to raise awareness of local support services and agencies and cultivate a social conscience through volunteering. Our youth work / student well-being program uses one-to-one counselling and group work to:
- provide students with support and appropriate referrals
- build leadership and social conscience skills.
A trainer / mentor will guide students in completing the Bronze level of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award. This involves physical recreation, volunteering and skill development in their local community and culminates with an overnight camp. Students must be 14 years of age to take part. The program requires a time commitment of half a day a week for a minimum of three terms. Delivery take place at school but may involve some activities out of school hours. Students will be matched with community mentors and supported throughout the program.
Costs: The cost is $450 per student, per term for a minimum of three terms. For students only wanting to participate in the well-being and volunteering aspects but not the full Bronze Award, the cost is $300 per student per term.
Other Student Engagement and Attendance Services
We offer a suite of half-day and full-day workshops covering:
- literacy and numeracy for work
- robotics and coding
- The Real Game
- career planning assessment tool
- job hunting and work readiness.
We aim to prepare students for the world of work by encouraging them to expand their perception of their future and providing skills to help them make better judgments and decisions.
Costs: Each half-day workshop is $25 to $33 per student depending on the content of the workshop. Full-day workshops are $55 to $60 per student. Groups must be 10 to 25 students. These workshops are one-off and can run at any time during school term.